Combing the "best of 2008" lists for children's books, I've come across many titles for grown-ups that sound like good stocking stuffers or Hanukkah gifts. (Happy Hanukkah! It starts Sunday night.) Technically, none of these books will fit into a stocking, but that's a minor detail...
Street Gang: The Complete History of "Sesame Street," by Michael Davis. Boston Globe review. Funny "Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me" (NPR radio show) segment on the book, with guest Denis Leary.
Children's Literature: A Reader's History from Aesop to Harry Potter, by Seth Lerer. New Haven Review critique. Plus, Seth Lerer chooses his own favorites of the year at The Millions.
The Best American Comics 2008, edited by Lynda Barry. Silicon Valley's Metro review.
Peterson Field Guide to the Birds of North America (newly revised). Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted) review.
Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics, by Ina Garten. "Falling for Ina Garten, all over again," by Emily Nunn, at the Chicago Tribune. (I bought this for myself already. I'm just like Jr. when he shops for birthday presents for others, always scooping up one for himself, too.)